The Mazda CX-5 was a very ambitious SUV seen by the public. Having its production started back in 2012 for the 2013 model, the Mazda CX-5 is Mazda’s compact crossover sports utility vehicle, seeing yearly models since its first model to this day.
It is the first platform the company used to put out its full array of Skyactiv technologies that rely on a rigid and lightweight platform and a series of engines and various transmissions to reduce fuel emissions and consumption.
The Mazda CX-5 has received mostly great ratings and praise from its customer and amassed a reputation for being a reliable and great vehicle with smooth driving and a comfortable interior.
While it always has not hit that mark, it remains one of the better sports utility vehicles on the market, so I will be going over the best and worst years for Mazda CX-5 and ranking the models based on my research and personal opinion.
Best Years for Mazda CX-5:
Worst Years for Mazda CX-5:
With both lists now available, let’s look at why I have ranked each model and how I came to these conclusions.
List Of The Best Years For The Mazda CX-5: What Years To Buy
The best years for the Mazda CX-5 are the ones where the models released had little to no issues and were appreciated by customers worldwide for their reliability and excellent driving, which were the main factors in them joining this list.
#1 Best Year: 2019 Mazda CX-5
The reason why the 2019 Mazda CX-5 takes first place on my list is plain and simple.
Because it offers a great mix and driving, quality, and reliability than the other models in the line-up cannot compare to and has received more than its fair share of customer appreciation.
It has received many positive ratings and is widely regarded as a reliable and trustworthy vehicle which is why I decided it should be on the top of this list.
Starting in 5 different trims, this 5-seater SUV is part of the second generation of the Mazda CX-5 and was released two years after the start of the generation. It avoided its predecessors’ mistakes, which also helped gain its position.
The model boasts excellent steering and driving with adaptive cruise control, which does exactly what you want it to.
The company took the liberty of refining the turbo engine, which made the car more powerful and faster. The cabin also received upgrades, making it quieter and manufacturing high-quality materials.
Various other features such as automatic braking and blind-spot detection warnings were also provided to customers as standard features, which played an important role in the popularity of this sports utility vehicle and allowed it to secure the top spot on this list.
#2 Best Year: 2017 Mazda CX-5
The popularity of the Mazda CX-5 skyrocketed after the release of its second generation, which fixed a lot of the problems surrounding the vehicle, which is why the first model of this new generation, the 2017 Mazda CX-5, takes second place on this list.
This popularity resulted from a complete redesign that the car underwent from both inside and outside, with the outside body of the vehicle receiving a complete restructures and style.
At the same time, the interior was made with better quality materials and improved to make it even more comfortable than previous models.
The model was available in 4 different trims and offered FWD & AWD, 6-speed automatic transmission, and a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine.
This model also introduced the improved and quiet cabin, which is the basis for the cabin in the 2019 Mazda CX-5 and features the same level of smooth driving & responsiveness while improving transmission and throttle.
It also included USB ports in the back seat which is very convenient for today’s family, especially the kids.
#3 Best Year: 2020 Mazda CX-5
The 2020 Mazda takes 3rd place on this list because of its lack of innovation and focuses on adding various features rather than upgrading the car overall.
This, however, is not a bad thing as the car itself is very strong, capable of going up to 250HP with its turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder engine and coming with a 6-speed automatic transmission and available AWD & FWD.
This model of the Mazda CX-5 delivers yet another above-average and exciting driving experience thanks to the impressive handling and steering and the comfortable and quiet interior it comes with.
While it made a strong entrance into the SUV market, it could not fully rival its competition and fell a bit short, which is another reason why it only gets 3rd place.
Regardless, it is a solid and reliable vehicle that received great ratings from customers who only had the regret of not buying the car sooner, calling it a luxury and a great experience to both drive and ride in.
#4 Best Year: 2018 Mazda CX-5
Taking last place on this list is the 2018 Mazda CX-5. It is last because it suffered from slightly more problems than the 2017 Mazda CX-5, despite what should have been the opposite.
Despite the issues surrounding this model, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 delivered an overall outstanding vehicle available in 3 different trims and featured various systems like Blind spot warning and other active safety systems as standard.
Just like the entire generation, it offered AWD & FWD systems and featured a new cylinder deactivation technology in the engine. This feature is great.
A sit saves gas by shutting down the outside cylinders, making it a great car for the family and frequent traveling. The excellent steering and smooth driving are also still present in this model.
Overall, it could have easily placed higher had it not been for various slight issues, but it overcame most of them and still made a name for itself, which landed it on the best models list and not the worst models, which I will be going over now.
List Of The Worst Years For The Mazda CX-5: What Years To Avoid
Despite some very spectacular models, some Mazda CX-5 are less than ideal and are a host of various problems and victims of numerous recalls, which is how I will be ranking them in this list.
#1 Worst Year: 2016 Mazda CX-5
Being the final model of the first generation, you would think that Mazda would have figured out the shortcomings of its vehicles.
However, it instead ended up releasing the worst model in the line-up. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is littered with various problems and suffered from 5 different recalls, which is why it is ranked as the worst model on this list.
The biggest issue this model faced was Daytime running light failure. This issue was due to defective light panels, which had to be replaced entirely to fix the flickering headlights.
What was worse is that this simple replacement cost customers nearly a thousand dollars, which is absurd. The brakes were prone to premature brake wear, were generally squeaky, and would not work properly.
The windshield was also made of poor quality, which was why many customers complained of having cracked and broken windshields.
On the recall side of things, the fuel filler pipe would rupture, and the rear lift gates would fall if the gate stayed corroded, which it tended to do.
Various other recalls were related to the daytime lights. At the same time, only a small number of cars suffered from the recalls related to windshield bracket detachment and steering loss due to insufficient bolt torque.
All of this combined to make the 2016 Mazda CX-5 the worst model of the series and why it deserves to be the number one worst model on this list.
#2 Worst Year:2014 Mazda CX-5
Since the line-up was in its early stages, it made quite a few mistakes and was released with a plethora of problems, but they were substantially less than the 2016 Mazda CX-5, and this model also had one less recall which is why the 2014 Mazda CX 5 is number 2 on this list.
This time, the main issue with the vehicle was electrical. Sometimes the car would not start, sometimes it would not shut down, and other times electrical shutdown was fairly common.
The model also suffered from various engine problems where it would lose acceleration, not shut off completely, rev when stopped, and sometimes lead to ignition coil failure.
The interior was also low quality. The already uncomfortable seats were wearing far earlier than they should have and not heating up, USB media issues, and the backup camera would not work.
All of this culminated into a model which received the second most complaints in the series and made people lose faith in the line-up as the first model of the series also did not do as well as people hoped either.
#3 Worst Year: 2013 Mazda CX-5
Being the first model in the line-up, many people were excited to get their hands on the new Mazda CX-5. However, they would soon be met with disappointment as the car would have many different problems.
Since this was the line-up’s first model, it seemed fitting that I should give it the benefit of the doubt and rank it 3rd place. This, however, does not excuse the model for the various problems it is infested with.
The first of these problems is a faulty engine that hesitated while driving and was prone to decelerating and bucking. The engine also had a habit of providing unintended acceleration, which is a very dangerous problem.
The engine was noisy too, especially on startup, and would make a loud whining sound. This time, the NHSTA had a lot to say about the 2013 Mazda CX-5’s electrical problems, which was mostly how the vehicle failed to shut off when parked.
Other issues included grinding sounds from brakes and worn-out rotors and pads.
#4 Worst Year: 2015 Mazda CX-5
While still having many different problems, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 had substantially fewer issues than the models discussed above but still failed to impress audiences and suffered from 4 recalls, which are why I have placed it as number 4 on this list.
As I mentioned in the 2016 model, the windshield of the Mazda CX-5 was made of poor quality, and this was also the case for the 2015 model, which no doubt extended the problem to the 2016 model.
Customers complained about the windshield cracking for no reason and would have to replace it. The liftgate issue was also present in this model, which ran the risk of injuring the user.
The transmission suffered various problems such as a whining noise, improper shifting, and clicking from the gearbox. The engine had its share of problems, such as over-revving and leaking oil.
The engine also gave unintended acceleration, which was yet another dangerous problem.
Finally, there were various interior problems, which made riding in the car an uncomfortable experience.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Mazda CX-5?
Some of the most common problems I was able to find are listed below.
Let’s talk about them in some details below:
1. Windshield Issues
The major offenders of this issue were the 2015 and 2016 Mazda CX-5 models. These models were fitted with low-quality windshields, prone to random cracks.
These cracks were random because most owners which suffered from the issue complained that the windshield would crack out of nowhere and without any cause.
These cracks would also spread and grow in scale quickly too, which would impair visibility and no doubt get owners pulled over.
Replacing the windshield is a common occurrence. However, the Mazda CX-5 has a lane-centering feature with sensors inside the glass, making this replacement even more costly.
Luckily for new customers looking for a brand new car, this problem is in older models and does not affect the latest models such as the 2020 Mazda CX-5, so this problem is something you should not be worried about when considering a newer model.
2. Mazda CX-5 Daytime Running Light Failure
Like the problem above, this issue affected an older model of the Mazda CX-5, the model being the 2016 version. In this problem, the daytime running lights would begin to flicker and eventually fail due to the light’s gaskets corroding.
The corrosion would occur because the sealing gaskets attached to the light’s wiring connectors would release sulfur which would cause the corrosion.
This would be costly to the user as the only fix for this issue would be the entire replacement of the headlight assembly which would easily cost $1500 on one side alone.
This issue affected over 44,000 vehicles, many of which were recalled by the company. This ended up with a class-action lawsuit on the company’s hands which they ended up settling and issued the recall of the cars.
This problem resulted from poor manufacturing & design and is just sad to see.
3. Defective Components leading To Injury
Speaking of recalls, the Mazda CX-5 has suffered from various major and minor recalls. However, these two are the biggest recalls the company issued.
The first one is related to the rupturing of the fuel filler pipe in the event of a crash. This would no doubt only escalate a bad situation as the ruptured pipe could easily start a fire, leading to further injuries or an explosion.
This particular recall affected more than 268,000 cars. The second recall is related to the rear liftgate having the chance to fall if affected by corrosion for too long which would be caused by improper coating of the outer tube.
This posed a serious safety risk as the defect could easily lead to injury if the gate accidentally fell on the user. This defect in the product itself affected more than 580,000 vehicles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How Long Will A Mazda CX-5 Last?
The Mazda CX-5 is a reliable and durable vehicle that can offer at least 13 years of service to its users if driven carefully and conservatively. This means that the CX-5 can easily travel a distance of 200,000 miles at the minimum.
With proper car maintenance and safe driving, you can increase the car’s life expectancy by 3-4 more years, making the car be able to easily travel well over 250,000 miles. In the end, it depends on how you drive your car and how well you take care of it.
Q2. Are Used Mazda CX-5 Reliable?
Safety is something you should always look for when purchasing used cars, which is why you should always gauge the quality and reliability of the car you are purchasing.
Luckily, the Mazda CX-5 is a very reliable car with an 80% reliability score, according to consumer reports. It has received outstanding ratings and praise from the customers who have purchased it.
Mazda CX-5 models also have very few problems, so you should be safe when purchasing a used CX-5, which has proven reliable in various instances.
Q3. Is Mazda CX-5 Good In Snow?
The Mazda CX-5 can expertly navigate through snowy roads and environments due to the AWD system it comes with. This system is reactive and active at all times, so when it detects the tire slipping, it activates the rear wheels for more traction.
The Mazda CX-5 also comes in 19-inch all-season tires, which allow users to push through, accelerate and take corners in the snow with confidence and eliminate any fear of the slipping car slipping and crashing.
Customers have reported that despite 12-inches of snow, the Mazda CX 5 had no issues at all.
Q4. Are Mazda CX-5 Expensive To Maintain?
The Mazda CX-5 has a great track record for being reliable and durable so that itself should make maintaining it fairly easier than other cars. However, if you do need repairs, the Mazda CX-5 also outperforms other vehicles in that regard.
Tallying up all the maintenance costs and repair costs, the average customer should be looking at an expenditure of $7,339 in the first ten years, which is more than $1500 cheaper than the average expenditure of other cars in that time frame.
This means that they are relatively cheap to maintain.
Q5. Is Mazda CX-5 Good For Long Trips?
The Mazda CX-5 is the perfect vehicle for planning long road trips with your family, mainly due to the above-average fuel efficiency, which is estimated to be 31 miles per gallon, making it environmentally friendly and economical well.
The interior is comfortable and has enough room to fill the whole family and fit all of your precious cargo inside as well, leading to a perfect family plan. The Mazda CX-5 is overall great for this purpose and a solid choice for long road trips in general.
Mazda as a company has been around since the early 1920s, and its Japanese origins and countless years of producing quality cars, both for the average person and for racing professionals, show how the company is committed to making reliable and durable vehicles which is the same stance they took when creating the Mazda CX-5.
Though the model is not without its faults, it has overcome these faults over the years and, in turn, released great, comfortable, and durable models such as the 2019 Mazda CX-5, which is the best model on my list.
Despite less attractive models such as the 2016 CX-5, which had many different problems, the company was able to fix their course and not let the problems the model faced persist for long.
Now that you are aware of the best and worst years for Mazda CX-5, you should be able to easily get the best model for yourself and avoid the ones I have listed as the worst ones.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.